Health and Welfare

1:16pm

Fri October 19, 2012
Health and Welfare

Child With National Following Succumbs to Rare Cancer

A 13-year-old McLean County boy whose fight with a rare cancer gained national attention died last night. The death of Lane Goodwin was announced to 342,000 followers on his "Prayers for Lane" Facebook page, report Rich Suwanski and Megan Harris of the Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro.

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12:57pm

Thu October 18, 2012
Health and Welfare

Board of Medical Licensure Looks to Amend House Bill 1

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure wants to change some of the more controversial requirements for urine screenings and digital monitoring in the state’s new prescription drug regulations that stem from the passage of House Bill 1. Mike Wynn of The Courier-Journal reports that Dr. Preston Nunnelley, the licensing board’s president, told state lawmakers Wednesday that the board plans to submit amendments to the regulations by Nov. 1 to address the concerns of doctors that the new law is proving too burdensome, and because patients are being charged for urine tests that insurance companies are refusing to cover.

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12:54pm

Thu October 18, 2012
Health and Welfare

Children Prescribed Anti-Psychotic Drugs at Alarming Rates

Amanda Rocafort and her son, Quintn, who takes Adderall for his ADHD. (NYT photo by Bryan Meltz)

In light of last week's news that the number of poor children on Medicaid in Kentucky are being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs at alarming rates for such diagnoses as attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder and depression, the New York Times reports that some doctors are making "no excuses" for prescribing psychostimulants in other locales for children of the poor.

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12:48pm

Thu October 18, 2012

12:38pm

Wed October 17, 2012
Health and Welfare

Beshear Disappointed About KY Spirit Announcement

Governor Steve Beshear says he’s disappointed that one statewide Medicaid operator has announced it is leaving the state. Kentucky Spirit, part of Centene Corporation from Missouri, announced today that they would terminate their operations next July, before their contract is up. Kentucky Spirit is one of the private Medicaid operators that took over the program for the state last year. The company encountered problems, however, and was in dispute with the state and doctors over reimbursement rates and other details of Medicaid operations.

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10:14am

Wed October 17, 2012
Health and Welfare

Medicaid Manager Quits Kentucky

Governor Steve Beshear says he’s disappointed that one statewide Medicaid operator has announced it is leaving the state. Kentucky Spirit, part of Centene Corporation from Missouri, announced today that they would terminate their operations next July, before their contract is up.

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3:21pm

Tue October 16, 2012
Health and Welfare

Kaiser Study Estimates Medicaid Costs Under Premium Support System

A Kaiser Family Foundation study has looked into what Medicare beneficiaries might pay under a "premium support" system that relies on competitive bidding, like the one proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman and Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has also supported a premium-support system, which allows beneficiaries to choose among competing plans.

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12:57pm

Tue October 16, 2012
Health and Welfare

Health Reform Could Hurt Recruitment of Rural Doctors

Recruiting doctors to rural hospitals will get harder in the next few years as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reaches full implementation and the demand for healthcare services increases, a new report suggests. An Association of Staff Physician Recruiters report, "In-House Physician Recruitment Benchmarking," says interview-to-hire ratios in rural areas are much higher than in urban, and rural recruiting officers are often responsible for several things, not just hiring new doctors, making them overworked. Both factors make it harder for rural hospitals to recruit, the authors concluded.

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12:43pm

Tue October 16, 2012

2:42pm

Mon October 15, 2012
Health and Welfare

Calorie Counts on Soda Machines Coming in 2013

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, for starters, will start displaying calorie counts on vending machines in an effort to encourage consumers to make lower-calorie choices, starting in 2013. The plan, explains Time magazine, falls in line with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s requirement that vending machines and restaurant chains with more than 20 locations display calorie information. The labels will be marked "Check Then Choose" or "Try A Low-Calorie Beverage."

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9:26am

Mon October 15, 2012
Health and Welfare

Mother and Child

3:43pm

Fri October 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

270 UofL Freshman Forced to Move Because of Mold

The University of Louisville has told 270 freshmen they have to move out in the middle of midterm exams after high levels of mold were found in their residence hall. The students were told remove everything they brought with them to Miller Hall. The dorm will be closed the rest of the semester. Those displaced are being moved to other dorms, university-affiliated housing and hotel rooms near campus.

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3:29pm

Fri October 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

Study Reveals Stroke Victims Getting Younger

A study conducted on first-ever stroke patients in the Greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky area may have some devastating repercussions for the nation. The results of the University of Cincinnati research, published this week in the online issue of Neurology, found that the average age of stroke victims has dropped and that this has great implications for lifetime disability. Study author Brett Kissela, MD, with the UC's College of Medicine explained that the rise in risk factors like diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are the cause.

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12:38pm

Fri October 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

Tornado Safe Room Interest

Some climate specialists believe ‘tornado alley’ is shifting east…bring rougher weather to Kentucky. In response, Lexington Emergency Management Director Pat Dugger says new homes should include tornado safe rooms. "The cost of adding a tornado room into new construction is fairly minimal compared to retrofitting.  If you spread that over the cost of the houses in a subdivision, it’s really not gonna cause the price of the house to go up maybe more than 500 dollars,” said Dugger.

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5:07pm

Thu October 11, 2012

5:52pm

Wed October 10, 2012
Health and Welfare

New School Lunch Guidelines Yields Unhappy Customers

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the Obama administration's effort to mandate more fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains into the diets of school children, has some uphill climbing to do and it's not just the kids who are complaining. Though, admittedly, they were the first. Sarah Gonzales of Agri-Pulse took a look at some rural school districts trying to implement the law in advance of the law's implementation deadline, to see how the new science-based standards were working in real lunchrooms.

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5:46pm

Wed October 10, 2012
Health and Welfare

Study Shows Antipsychotic Drug Prescriptions Increasing in Children

A new report from the University of Kentucky has documented the rate at which the state's poor and disabled children are more and more frequently being prescribed very powerful drugs to treat what is assumed to be attention-deficit, schizophrenia, bi-polar disease and depression. The results indicate that males are more likely than females to be assigned those drugs by physicians, and minority males even more than their white counterparts.

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12:37pm

Tue October 9, 2012
Health and Welfare

Five Kentuckians Linked to Meningitis Outbreak

FRANKFORT - The Kentucky Department for Public Health has been notified of five recent cases of fungal meningitis in Kentucky residents who received medical care in Tennessee. These cases of illness match the pattern associated with a multistate outbreak that has been linked to injections from three lots of steroid medications distributed by the New England Compounding Center, a compounding-only pharmacy, according to a DPH news release. This type of fungal meningitis is not contagious.

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2:36pm

Mon October 8, 2012
Health and Welfare

State's Hospitals See Growth Spurts in Investments

Kentucky’s major hospital systems are going big, making high-profile, technology-forward capital investments across the commonwealth. Josh Shepherd of The Lane Report writes that every sector of the state is part of the hospital boom. The state's cumulative total of investment since 2010 is roughly a billion dollars, notes Shepherd, and has meant hundreds of construction and, soon, medical and other hospital-related jobs. Here's the list of the most notable construction projects now under way:

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2:16pm

Mon October 8, 2012
Health and Welfare

Mental Health Treatment Constraints

A number of economic and social factors have made treatment beyond the reach of more mentally ill Kentuckians.  Kelly Gunning with the Lexington Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness says insurance companies through managed care are increasingly unwilling to fund mental health care.  “As the federal budgets and state budgets and the local budgets dry up, there’s this natural shrinking of available community based resources,” said Gunning.

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6:06pm

Sun October 7, 2012
Health and Welfare

Kentucky Circuit Judge Died of Fungal Meningitis

A longtime circuit judge from Southern Kentucky might have been the first victim of a fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed five people and sickened dozens of others in several states. The judge, Eddie C. Lovelace, of Albany, died Sept. 17 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He was 78. The Tennessean reported Friday that unnamed hospital spokespeople had confirmed the first reported casualty of the meningitis outbreak was a 78-year-old man who died Sept. 17 at the facility. Jennifer Wetzel, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said later Friday that the facility does not confirm causes of death of people who die there. However, Lovelace's widow, Joyce Lovelace, told the Herald-Leader that Lovelace had been treated at a Nashville clinic that has been implicated in the outbreak.

3:23pm

Fri October 5, 2012
Health and Welfare

Jane Beshear Announces Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Earlier this week, First Lady Jane Beshear publicly noted the accomplishments of the anti-domestic violence movement in Kentucky and spoke the names of 26 women who had died at the hands of their abusers this year. With that, she then announced that October would again be Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Kentucky. “Nearly one-third of all American women report being abused at some point in their lives. Abuse affects more than just individuals -- families and communities suffer, too,” said Beshear.

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3:20pm

Fri October 5, 2012
Health and Welfare

Employee Health Care Costs Increasing in Northern Kentucky

In an continuing effort to move health costs off the shoulders of employers and onto employees, workers in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky will likely pay an average $4,775 out of their own pockets for health care in 2013 -- about $400 more than this year. That's nearly $2,000 more than they paid in  2007. The payments include health care premiums through their employer, as well as office co-pays and deductibles, said Aon Hewitt, the consultant that produced its annual cost report. These payments reflect a slight savings from the the national average of $4,814.

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3:18pm

Fri October 5, 2012
Health and Welfare

Kentucky Circuit Judge was First Victim of Meningitis Outbreak

Judge Eddie C. Lovelace

The first victim of the fungal meningitis outbreak in Tennessee was most likely Kentucky Circuit Judge Eddie C. Lovelace of Albany, 78, who died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Sept. 17. John Dreyzehner, Tennessee's commissioner of health, said Friday that the number of Tennesseans affected by the meningitis outbreak has now risen to 29. The number of deaths is unchanged at three. The search for more affected patients will continue "for some time," he said. Investigators haven't found evidence that the clinics or clinicians in Tennessee did anything to cause the outbreak.

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12:58pm

Fri October 5, 2012
Health and Welfare

Meningitis Attention in Kentucky

An outbreak of meningitis in states neighboring Kentucky is also attracting attention in the Commonwealth.   The meningitis cases appear to be tied to contaminated steroid injections, with the biggest outbreak in the Nashville area.   University of Kentucky Infectious Disease Pharmacy Specialist Craig Martin says no shipments of the tainted drug came to Kentucky.  He says these cases of meningitis should not raise red flags about the potential for contamination in other oral medications for example.

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12:43pm

Fri October 5, 2012
Health and Welfare

Medicaid Managed Care Contracts Awarded in Louisville

FRANKFORT – The state has signed contracts with four managed care partners to provide health care services to approximately 175,000 Medicaid recipients in Louisville and 15 surrounding counties. These managed care organizations (MCOs) will provide services in an area comprised of Breckinridge, Bullitt, Carroll, Grayson, Hardin, Henry, Jefferson, Larue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Washington counties.

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4:23pm

Thu October 4, 2012

1:01pm

Wed October 3, 2012
Health and Welfare

Anthem Plan to Serve as Benchmark for Insurance Exchange

The Kentucky Department of Insurance has recommended that the Anthem Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan serve as the “benchmark” plan for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, as well as for plans offered outside the exchange. The statement issued by the department states that "Anthem PPO is the largest small group plan currently offered in Kentucky and includes coverage for all state mandates and the 10 essential health benefits, or categories of care, specified by the federal government under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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1:04pm

Tue October 2, 2012
Health and Welfare

Study Measures Obesity Advertisement Effects

What about those anti-obesity ads? Is anyone listening? If so, is anyone motivated to do better? Might they be offensive to some? Educational? Helpful? Are they working at all? More importantly, why and why not? Researchers at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity have stepped into the breach to measure Americans' attitudes about ads meant to encourage less girth and better nutrition.

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6:59am

Mon October 1, 2012
Health and Welfare

The Cost of Crime Examined

Simply counting crimes is not enough.   A study by a Centre College economics professor says we should also count their cost.  So often, Economist Dave Anderson says crime statistics focus on the number of murders, thefts, and burglaries, for instance.  But, Anderson says the real costs associated with crime go far beyond the number of criminal acts.  Some crimes have been on the decline, but that numbers tells only part of the story.

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